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07 Jun. 2024

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Vacations for military personnel: how to go abroad and what you need to do

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Vacations for military personnel: how to go abroad and what you need to do

On May 18, a new law on mobilization and military service came into force, which changed the procedure for military registration, conscription and increased sanctions for evaders. Find out more about whether the changes affect the rules for servicemen to travel abroad during their leave and what documents are required for this

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Legal advice for Ukrainians
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The war has separated millions of families, and women with children have been forced to go abroad, many of them wives of military personnel who are defending the territorial integrity of Ukraine. And because men of military age and the military are not allowed to leave the country during martial law, families maintain communication only by phone and video. However, there is a legal possibility for military personnel to travel abroad during their leave. 

On May 18, a new law on mobilization came into force, which introduced changes to many areas of military service. However, the rules for crossing the border for persons liable for military service are regulated by the Cabinet of Ministers' Resolution No. 57, so they will remain unchanged, including for military personnel. We will explain what circumstances are the grounds for leaving the country and what is required.


Find out more about the consequences for those who tried to illegally cross the border during martial law.


Basic rules for granting leave to military personnel


All military personnel can receive 30 days of basic leave per year. It is granted in installments. The Verkhovna Rada has passed a bill to strengthen mobilization, which states that the main continuous part of such leave must be at least 15 days. Therefore, this provision will become mandatory.

In what situations can a vacation request be denied? According to Ukrainian law, leave is granted “provided that no more than 30 percent of the total number of servicemen of a certain category of the relevant unit is absent at the same time”. There are possible reasons for refusal, but they must always be justified.

In addition to the basic leave, a leave of absence for up to 10 days may be granted for family reasons or other valid reasons. During this period, the payment of remuneration is fully preserved. 

In order to receive a leave of absence, the report must indicate what circumstances prompt the military to travel home. If possible, it is better to support the report with relevant documents, otherwise you may receive a refusal.

The law does not specify how many times a year you can take family leave, so we can assume that it is an unlimited number of times, depending on the occurrence and level of urgency of family circumstances.


Earlier, we talked about the required package of documents for obtaining a deferment from mobilization for parents with many children.




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What does a serviceman need to travel abroad during his leave?


According to the Ministry of Defense, the decision to travel abroad is made on an individual basis. 

First of all, a serviceman must write and submit a request for leave to the commander of the military unit. Additionally, the report must include:

1. Dates of departure and return;

2. City and address of stay;

3. Type of transport and border crossing point through which the border will be crossed.

Along with the report, you must provide documents to confirm the purpose of the trip: a marriage or birth certificate, a certificate of temporary protection of one of the family members abroad, etc. In other words, the main legal reason for traveling abroad is to meet with family members who were forced to temporarily leave Ukraine.


It should be noted that the law allows for additional days to be added to the vacation leave for traveling.

Based on the submitted documents, the commander of the military unit must make a decision on whether to allow the serviceman to leave. If approved, the commander must issue an order granting the right to leave. In addition, the permission to leave must be indicated on the leave ticket.

In case of refusal to leave, it is almost impossible to appeal the decision, as there are not many levers of influence in this situation.


You can learn more about the postponement of mobilization for university students here.


Documents for military personnel to travel abroad


In order to cross the border, a serviceman needs to present the following documents to the representatives of the Border Guard Service: 

1. A valid foreign passport;

2. A military identity document (military ID, officer's ID, etc.);

3. A leave ticket, which must indicate the place of stay of the serviceman during the leave and the permission to leave from an authorized person;

4. An extract from the order of the relevant authorized person who made the decision to grant the military leave and the right to leave.


In our previous article, we mentioned that Ukraine has canceled the “residence abroad” exception, which means that now men with a special stamp in their passports and permanent residence outside Ukraine have lost the right to cross the border freely.


Military personnel traveling abroad for medical treatment


In addition to vacation, servicemen also have the right to cross the state border for the purpose of treatment of injuries sustained in the war. To do so, you need to prepare the following set of documents:

1. A passport of a citizen of Ukraine for traveling abroad or a passport of a citizen of Ukraine;

2. A conclusion on the need to be sent abroad for treatment;

3. A letter from the Ministry of Health of Ukraine on the list of persons agreed with the foreign party who can be admitted for treatment abroad by healthcare institutions of foreign countries.


We remind you! The new law on mobilization has changed the rules for men crossing the border. Read more about which categories of men can freely leave Ukraine and what documents they need to have.


Want to know more? Read the latest news and useful materials about Ukraine and the world in the News section.






Ihor Usyk is the Head of Legal Department at Visit Ukraine


To get comprehensive information on the current rules for crossing the state border, use the legal support on our service. Our lawyers will answer all your questions and help you solve your urgent issues.

Do you have additional questions? Contact the Visit Ukraine hotline (Telegram | WhatsApp).




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